Sep 042013

Like most sci-fi RPG fans, I can’t help but be endlessly enamored by the Mass Effect series. Maintaining a rich, fulfilling narrative in an extensive setting with gut-wrenching depth is no small feat, and Bioware’s trilogy has left many inspired and touched.

Mass Effect - TRAVIS - 13

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Aug 312013

Hey folks, Fenrir here with some exciting news! So hold on to your ugly mage hats because there’s been a lot of buzz about Dragon Age: Inquisition, the third installment in Bioware’s ever-popular Dragon Age series! Originally scheduled to release this fall, the team at Bioware is instead pushing the release for next year–and with the latest info released at PAX this weekend, there’s plenty of good reason to wait another year.

"That is mahogany!"

“That is mahogany!”

From playable Qunari characters (SAY WHAT), dodge-rolling action, impressive graphics, an expansive overworld–oh and plenty of ugly hats for everyone–Inquisition is growing into a pretty ambitious project. So let’s get down to business and try to summarize all the cool, new buzz in store for fans of all things Thedas.

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Apr 192013

Today I’m shaking things up a bit in my weekly “Retrospective” column. Instead of looking back at a game I never played, fitting it into a modern context, I thought I’d play a game that I did play and loved again after nearly five years. Instead of evaluating its validity without an ounce of nostalgia, I thought I’d use nostalgia this week a a vehicle to drive my analysis of design. After all, Mass Effect as a franchise has exploded since this first effort, and what started out somewhat humble has since grown into a behemoth in the gaming spectrum.

Mass Effect - Travis - 3

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Dec 242012

Hello everyone, it’s Laevatein, and I’m back from the dead! Or for a more mundane answer, I’m back from my hiatus. Anyway, it’s Christmas Eve, and Santa is probably still going over his list to see who’s naughty and who’s nice (he’s gotta check it twice, after all). You know the drill though, whoever’s nice gets good gifts, and whoever’s naughty gets coal (or Windows phones or whatever people consider lousy nowadays (I’m joking about the Windows phones part)). Now, as a guy who writes about games, I think talking about how morality works in games is a pretty fitting choice for a post on Christmas Eve. I mean, how much more meta can you get than Santa?

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Oct 082012

I’m sure you may be wondering why I’m reviewing Jade Empire.  ”This game’s pretty old, so what’s the deal, Laevatein?”  Truth be told, I suppose there’s neither rhyme nor reason behind my choice this week.  I recently finished it for the first time, so I guess now’s as good a time as any.  Anyway, Jade Empire is Bioware’s fifth game, and is probably their most unique one of all, at least in terms of setting.  It’s also important as Bioware’s first original IP.  In many ways, it’s pretty unique, insofar as Western RPGs go.  I often like to think individual RPGs need to be more unique, too.  However, I think Jade Empire is a pretty good example of why uniqueness alone doesn’t cut it.

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Sep 032012

Last week, I reviewed Baldur’s Gate.  I explained that, while the game was very light on actual roleplaying and plot (and characterization was practically nonexistent), there’s some pretty good gameplay in spite of the pathfinding issues (and my general dislike of low level D&D combat).  However, it was a very important title when it came out, as it’s often credited for resuscitating the cRPG genre (even though Fallout technically did come out a year before).

Tales of the Sword Coast, Baldur’s Gate’s only expansion, is not as big as some other expansions are.  Rather than continuing the story in some way, Tales of the Sword Coast introduces four new areas (and opens up one area previously inaccessible in the original), with a few side stories here and there.  I went in to Tales of the Sword Coast expecting some throwaway stories and some more general mid-level combat (not that I would’ve complained, of course).  However, what I did get took me by surprise.

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